New Update on Spousal/Common-Law Sponsorship: Processing Times now Less Than 12 Months for Many Applicants

New Update on Spousal/Common-Law Sponsorship: Processing Times now Less Than 12 Months for Many Applicant

Canada Immigration Newsletter announced on its website that the government of Canada revealed that processing times have significantly been reduced in many cases for the Outland Spousal/Common-Law Sponsorship Canadian immigration program.

After 2015, the way in which processing times were listed for the Outland Spousal/Common-Law Sponsorship Canadian immigration programs changed. Before until that change, application processing times for this program were listed by visa office. Now, processing times are listed by individual countries where the application is being made.

This new modification helps couples to make better decisions on deciding which program is more suitable for their situation: Inland Sponsorship or Outland Sponsorship.

In many cases, this change also allows sponsored persons to obtain Canadian permanent residence status sooner. As we all know, this factor will come as a great relief to many Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and their foreign spouses and common-law partners who wish to be reunited in Canada as quickly as possible.

The time it takes to make the initial assessment of the sponsor, for certain countries are now less than one year. Countries that gain to benefit from this change include France, Australia, Spain, Tunisia, Belgium, Algeria, Morocco, New Zealand, Peru, Brazil, Iran, Israel, Portugal, Poland, Taiwan, Trinidad & Tobago, Ukraine, and Switzerland.

For many other countries, the processing time is around one year or slightly longer.

The new Liberal government of Canada announced in its Immigration Levels Plan in March of this year that it intends to increase the number of new permanent residents who arrive in Canada through the Family Class category, including spouses and common-law partners. This factor may also have the effect of further reducing application processing times.

Fall in love and come to Canada: Spousal / Common-law Partner Sponsorship

Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents 18 years or older may sponsor their SpousesCommon-Law Partners and Conjugal Partners, to join them in Canada. This applies equally to same-sex relationships, as it does heterosexual ones.

Recent changes have resulted in quicker processing times for spousal sponsorships, falling by more than half, from 26 months previously to just 12 months today.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Common Law Partner:  The law defines it as someone with whom a sponsor has cohabited in a conjugal relationship for at least one year.
  • Conjugal Partner: Also recognized under Canadian law. This is more subjective and requires a greater degree of proof. It’s a committed relationship that is at least one-year old, and is long-distance. The partner has resided outside Canada, due to an impediment to marriage or residency together.  
  • Spouses: A Legal marriage.Sponsors undertake to provide for their spouses’ basic needs for a period of three years after the spouse enters Canada as a permanent resident. This effectively is a guarantee that they will not require social assistance (welfare). If the couple break up during this period, the sponsor is required to reimburse the government for any social welfare payments issued to the claimant.
    • Be in receipt of Social assistance (other than for a disability)
    • Be bankrupt
    • Be in Prison, convicted of a violent or sexual crime, or subject to a removal order
    • Have previously sponsored a spouse or partner within the last 3 years
    • Have previously been sponsored themselves as a spouse or partner within the last 5 years
  • Processing times tend to be shorter with Overseas applications.
  • Overseas applicants may be able to come and go as a visitor to Canada freely while the application is in process.
  • In Canada applicants are entitled to apply for an open work permit while their application is in process, but are required to remain in Canada during this period.
  • In the event the application fails, Overseas applicants have appeal rights that those applying from Inside Canada do not.

Are you eligible to sponsor?

In addition to being a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of at least 18 years of age, a sponsor must NOT:

Sponsor’s commitment:

How to apply? From inside or outside Canada?

When it comes to spousal sponsorship there are two ways to apply; an Overseas Sponsorship or an In Canada sponsorship.

If your spouse or partner lives outside of Canada, you would apply from outside the country. You can apply to a Canadian visa office in the country where the partner/spouse has been living for at least the past year, or to one in the country of their citizenship.

If your spouse or partner is already living in Canada, the choice of which type of application to make is yours. In this situation both the Overseas application and the In Canada option have benefits and drawbacks which should be considered:

Contact us today to discuss your eligibility for spousal sponsorship. You may fill out the free immigration evaluation form online and our staff will happily get in contact with you.

Canada: +1 (604) 468-5747
Vancouver Office Address: 1500 West Georgia Street, Unit 1300, Vancouver, BC V6G 2Z6
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